TRIBUTES have been paid to a “local legend” on the death of Baxenden Cricket Club stalwart Tom Barnes.

The 84-year-old Tom, who was the club’s first professional, has supported the club with 66 years on the committee.

Tom, who was regarded as a legend in the league with over 1,000 wickets to his credit, was described by fellow club members as a ‘really nice chap’.

His death was described as a great loss to the game.

Apart from Tom Barnes, the club has had only 10 other professionals in its 40 years in the senior league.

As skipper, he led the club to its first championship in 1962.

Tom, who leaves his wife Margaret, died at home in Baxenden this week after a long illness.

Originally from Haslingden, Tom played for Haslingden Cricket Club in the Lancashire League in the late 1940s before becoming a professional for Baxenden from 1953 to 1957.

He then joined Blackburn Northern Cricket Club for three seasons.

He later returned to Baxenden as an amateur, playing for the club until 1973.

Committee member Geoff Lund said: “Tom was a legend in the Ribblesdale League.

“He played for 21 seasons and in all that time he took over 1,000 wickets.

"Obviously he was extremely respected and he would always go to Baxenden home and away matches in his later years.

“Everyone knew him and he was a really nice chap.

“He is a great loss and everyone will miss him.”

Vice chairman of the club Paul Clegg said: “Tom will be remembered for some outstanding performances such as taking nine wickets three times in a match.

“He was a regular at Baxenden matches, coming right up until he became too ill to go out. He was someone I had played alongside.

“I respected him very much.

“He was a wonderful man and everyone is very upset.”